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Epic Games Asks Apple to Reinstate Fortnite in South Korea

Epic Games has asked Apple to reinstate its Fortnite developer account so it can release the game in South Korea, following the passage of a bill that will force Apple and Google to let apps use alternative payment systems. It’s unclear if Apple will agree to the request, or if Epic’s intentions are genuine: after all, Epic used Apple’s responses to its prior demands to help spring its original #FreeFortnite legal trap.

Epic said in a tweet on the official Fortnite account, “Epic has asked Apple to restore our Fortnite developer account. Epic intends to re-release Fortnite on iOS in Korea offering both Epic payment and Apple payment side-by-side in compliance with the new Korean law.”

Apple said in its statement, “As we’ve said all along, we would welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else. Epic has admitted to breach of contract and as of now, there’s no legitimate basis for the reinstatement of their developer account.”

This request comes after South Korea passed a bill, the updated Telecommunications Business Act, in late August that will force Apple and other tech giants to let developers use their third-party payment systems. Even if the South Korean legislation, which is not yet effective, were to become law in the country, it would impose no obligation on Apple to approve any developer program account application, based on Apple’s statement.

Epic would also have to agree to comply with Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines regarding all apps, but Epic has not consistently abided by the Guidelines, and their request of Apple does not indicate any change in Epic’s position, added Apple’s statement.

In August 2020, Apple kicked Fortnite off the App Store hours after Epic introduced a direct payment system to the game that bypassed Apple’s own. Epic then sued Apple, starting off a contentious legal battle between the two companies. The case went to trial in May, and a verdict is still awaited. The entire time, Fortnite hasn’t been on the App Store.

Apple is changing its app policy to allow developers to link to external websites and it also has reached a settlement with Japan for allowing developers of “reader” apps to link to their own websites.

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